Crime fiction
Mariusz Staniszewski
Cartel

This is a masterfully constructed detective story from which it is hard to tear oneself away

The journalist was practically alone in the courtyard. “Grey” and his bodyguards had disappeared into the building. There were just two security guards on the other side by the gate, making sure no one without a pass card got into the club grounds. The cool of evening was already in the air, but the reporter felt hot, his forehead was beaded with sweat. He wanted to do something, but he felt helpless. Everything around him was shrouded in mystery, so much so that it seemed unreal. The people, although he knew many of them, seemed to have changed into zombies here. He felt as if he was taking part in a performance or a reality show, but he didn’t know where the audience was.

The slam of a door shook him from his lethargy. Looking around, he saw the district attorney coming towards him. The DA was a stout man with the face of a lowbudget action film actor. His excessively protruding, strong jaw, cheeks with deep wrinkles, deep-set eyes and shaved head meant that most people he spoke to respected him. Fronisz liked him, because he was someone who didn’t hesitate to make tough decisions. Moreover, he was a connoisseur of good food and drink, which certainly helped him win people over. As a matter of fact, the DA also liked Krzysztof, because he was one of the few journalists in town who didn’t work on commission. This could be troublesome for prosecutors, because attempts to manipulate proceedings were more likely to be exposed, but on the other hand, his publications could be taken seriously. They had been on firstname terms for about a year. The DA had invited him to a Russian restaurant for some vodka after Krzysztof had chanced upon a young prosecutor inebriated on a park bench in the middle of the night and discreetly driven him home. Had he taken a photo and published it, he’d have ruined not only the career of the prosecutor, but also that of his bosses. It soon turned out that following the closing of a very complicated case that resulted in a conviction, a few high-ranking detectives had gone out drinking. One ended up on a park bench, one on a railway siding, and another went home but forgot that his house was being renovated. He opened the door, fell to the floor, and stuck to the freshly varnished parquet. He was so ill from the toxic fumes that he ended up in hospital. DA Jacek Jaskóła was known for his strong head, so he made it home under his own steam. The next day, however, he had to work extremely hard to prevent the scandal from getting out.

Excerpt translated by Kate Webster

Crime fiction
Mariusz Staniszewski
Cartel

This is a masterfully constructed detective story from which it is hard to tear oneself away

Publisher: Wydawnictwo Zysk i S-ka, Poznań 2022
Translation rights: Wydawnictwo Zysk i S-ka, anna.giryn@zysk.com.pl

Cartel is a detective story based on a journalistic investigation. The protagonist of the novel is Krzysztof Fronisz, a young Wrocław journalist who discovers a mysterious chest from the World War II period while hiking in the Owl Mountains. At first, he doesn’t realise the importance of his find, but it soon becomes clear that the chest is an object of desire for the secret services of several countries and for a mysterious organisation that rules the city and has ambitions to introduce a new order. The young journalist begins to investigate and as the situation unfolds, he becomes embroiled in a multilayered plot. One of the main themes of the novel is the method of operation of the titular Cartel, which comprises gangsters as well as renowned professors, businessmen and representatives of the judiciary and law enforcement agencies. Its members consider themselves the better part of society. They are not bound by any standards, be they moral or legal. The warring parties stoop to murder, torture and betrayal. With each page of the novel, the action gains momentum, surprising the reader and drawing them into a murky world where politics, academia, and even the judiciary are linked to criminals and nothing is as it seems. Staniszewski also asks questions about the condition of the modern world. He ponders the role of truth and honesty in human life, and whether ideas and beliefs are more important than ethical and moral principles. The author skilfully weaves these threads into the plot, while painting highly expressive and colourful psychological portraits of the characters. Both the heroes and the reality to which he transports us are so suggestive and true that the world he describes seems entirely real. He leaves no illusions, however, as to the appearance of the modern world and the driving force behind human actions. This is a masterfully constructed detective story with a romance plot in the background from which it is hard to tear oneself away.

Katarzyna Humeniuk

Translated by Kate Webster

Selected samples

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Urszula Honek
Honek
Radek Rak
Agla
Mariusz Staniszewski
Staniszewski_Kartel
Paweł Rzewuski
Adriana Szymańska
Kazimierz Orłoś
Orlos
Rafał Wojasiński
Tefil
Antonina Grzegorzewska
Grzegorzewska_drama
Józef Mackiewicz
Mackiewicz_Sprawa
Tobiasz Piątkowski, Marek Oleksicki
Piatkowski_Oleksicki_Ekspozytura
Daniel Odija
Bronisław Wildstein
Józef Mackiewicz
Mackiewicz_Droga
Józef Mackiewicz
Mackiewicz_Bunt-rojstow
Witold Szabłowski
Szablowski_Rosja-od-kuchni
Andrzej Muszyński
Muszynski_Dom-ojcow
Wiesław Helak
Helak
Bartosz Jastrzębski
Jastrzebski_Dies-irae
Dariusz Sośnicki
Sośnicki_Po-domu
Łukasz Orbitowski
Orbitowski_chodz
Jakub Małecki
Malecki_SO
אנדז'יי ספקובסקי
Elżbieta Cherezińska
Wiesław Myśliwski
Jakub Małecki
Aleksandra Lipczak
Jacek Dukaj
Wit Szostak
Bartosz Biedrzycki
Zyta Rudzka
Maciej Płaza
Wojciech Chmielewski
Paweł Huelle
Przemysław "Trust" Truściński
Angelika Kuźniak
Wojciech Kudyba
Michał Protasiuk
Stanisław Rembek
Rembek
Krzysztof Karasek
Elżbieta Isakiewicz
Artur Daniel Liskowacki
Jarosław Jakubowski
Zbigniew Stawrowski
Szczepan Twardoch
Wojciech Chmielarz
Robert Małecki
Zygmunt Miłoszewski
Anna Piwkowska
Dominika Słowik
Wojciech Chmielewski
Barbara Banaś
Rafał Mikołajczyk
Jerzy Szymik
Waldemar Bawołek
Julia Fiedorczuk
Jakub Szamałek
Witold Szabłowski
Jacek Dukaj
Grzegorz Górny, Janusz Rosikoń
Paweł Piechnik
Andrzej Strumiłło

69

Marta Kwaśnicka
Piotr Mitzner
Paweł Sołtys
Wacław Holewiński
Anna Potyra
Wiesław Helak
Urszula Zajączkowska
Marek Stokowski
Stokowski
Hubert Klimko-Dobrzaniecki
HKD
Jakub Małecki
Malecki_Horyzont
Łukasz Orbitowski
Orbitowski
Małgorzata Rejmer
Rejmer
Rafał Wojasiński
Olanda
Wojciech Kudyba
Kudyba
Włodzimierz Bolecki
Bolecki
Jerzy Liebert
Liebert
Wojciech Zembaty
Zembaty
Wojciech Chmielarz
Chmielarz
Bogdan Musiał
Musiał
Joanna Siedlecka
Siedlecka
Krzysztof Tyszka-Drozdowski
Drozdowski
Jarosław Marek Rymkiewicz
Marek Bieńczyk
Bienczyk
Leszek Elektorowicz
Elektorowicz
Adrian Sinkowski
Sinkowski
Szymon Babuchowski
Babuchowski
Lech Majewski
Majewski
Weronika Murek
Murek
Agnieszka Świętek
Swietek
Stanisław Szukalski
Barbara Klicka
Klicka
Anna Kamińska

She climbed her first peaks in a headscarf at a time when women in the mountains were treated by climbers as an additional backpack. It was with her that female alpinism began! She gained recognition in a spectacular way. The path was considered a crossing for madmen. Especially since the tragic accident in 1929, preserved … Continue reading “Halina”

Wojciech Chmielarz

First, Marysia, a student of an exclusive private school in Warsaw’s Mokotów district, dies under the wheels of a train. Her teacher, Elżbieta, tries to find out what really happened. She starts a private investigation only soon to perish herself. But her body disappears, and the only people who have seen anything are Gniewomir, a … Continue reading “Wound”

Anna Kańtoch

A young girl, Regina Wieczorek, was found dead on the beach. She was nineteen years old and had no enemies. Fortunately, the culprit was quickly found. At least, that’s what the militia think. Meanwhile, one day in November, Jan Kowalski appears at the police station. He claims to have killed not only Regina but also … Continue reading “Penance”

Marek Krajewski

The year is 1922. A dangerous time of breakthrough. In the Eastern Borderlands of the Republic of Poland, Bolshevik gangs sow terror, leaving behind the corpses of men and disgraced women. A ruthless secret intelligence race takes place between the Lviv-Warsaw-Free City of Gdańsk line. Lviv investigator Edward Popielski, called Łysy (“Hairless”), receives an offer … Continue reading “A Girl with Four Fingers”

Ks. Tomasz Stępień

This question is closely related to the next one, namely: if any goal exists, does life lead us to that goal in an orderly manner? In other words, is everything that happens to us just a set of chaotic events that, combined together, do not form a whole? To understand how the concept of providence … Continue reading “Order and Love”

Jakub Małecki
Szczepan Twardoch
Wiesław Helak
Maria Wilczek-Krupa
Anna Kańtoch
Rafał Kosik
Paweł Sołtys
Dorota Masłowska
Wiesław Myśliwski
Martyna Bunda
Olga Tokarczuk
Various authors
Mariola Kruszewska
Waldemar Bawołek
Marek Oleksicki, Tobiasz Piątkowski
Wojciech Tomczyk
Urszula Zajączkowska
Marzanna Bogumiła Kielar
Ks. Robert Skrzypczak
Bronisław Wildstein
Anna Bikont
Magdalena Grzebałkowska
Wojciech Orliński
Klementyna Suchanow
Andrzej Franaszek
Natalia Budzyńska
Marian Sworzeń
Aleksandra Wójcik, Maciej Zdziarski
Józef Łobodowski

The work of Józef Łobodowski (1909-1988) – a remarkable poet, prose writer, and translator, who spent most of his life in exile – is slowly being revived in Poland. Łobodowski’s brilliant three- volume novel, composed on an epic scale, concerns the fate of families and orphans unmoored by the Bolshevik Revolution and civil war and … Continue reading “Ukrainian Trilogy: Thickets, The Settlement, The Way Back”

Piotr Zaremba
Wacław Holewiński
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